|Star Trek Elite Force II
After being fairly thrilled with the first game, and replaying it to death almost, I was happy to hear about a second in the series. If it was as good as the first, it would be wonderful to have.
Well, so I am wrong sometimes.
The sequel, is horrid. Ok, sure the graphics have been increased, and facial expressions and textures look much better than the first. However, for lack of words, the story and game play sucks balls.
I lost count how many times the player was forced to do something that was a complete waste of time. Whether it be running from a turbo lift to a room to see a cut scene, or a room back to the turbo lift to head to another room to see a cut scene. There was no point for it but to lengthen the game. On rare occasions the mission screen would show a secret may be found during that trip from the turbo lift to the cut scene, but that surely does not justify the point!
As stories go, this one I think fell right in with how a star trek episode is. Boring up till the last five minutes, with a bunch of useless character development in the middle. Throughout the game I was left constantly wondering, what the heck is going on? Am I playing five stories here at once while trying to woo some chick?
The ending was ... well, in regards to how the rest of the game went, the ending felt right at place.
So what happens with enemies? Not much. They always seem to see you when they are hostile, and the AI is pretty pathetic. Once you kill the bad guys, who seemed to always yell the exact same sound over and over, you are not left with any prize for your efforts. No weapon ammo to pick up, no booty, nothing! The enemy just evaporates in either mist, explosions, or transporter beams. So you aren't even left with a body pile up!
Level design. Well, for the most part it was very nice, and well directed. However when considering that they put a lot of weight on finding secrets (telling you how many there are in the mission screen, and also warning you with a message when you near the exit to the level), you are left extremely frustrated at times. So they WANT you to find these golden starships, to unlock more levels, but then they make maps where you get cut off from prior areas making it impossible to go back and find that silly obscure door to open. To me, the secrets addition was a major distraction from the game at hand, lending to the overall confusion factor. Because of how bad the game is itself, no one would want to replay all that just to search for all the secrets to unlock that last secret level! Would they?!
So, what of the other aspects of the level design? Well, there was a lot of hidden barriers put in to prevent the player from getting into areas or going places that the level designer did not want them to go. From my experience, this is a cop out. Ok, so you have this ledge, its within reach of a simple jump... but no, you don't want them on that ledge, so you put this invisible barrier in between?! With how much realism they tried to put into this game, you would think they would have tried to make the maps believable too. At least they used stairs, lifts, doors, and other well designed aspects to create better flowing maps than many other games.
I will not replay this game. I don't think I could stomach running around the Enterprise on an "Information Gathering Mission" again!
Posted on June 23, 2004 at 7:52 am
|Star Trek Elite Force I
Special Note: I am not a huge trekkie, or really follow the ENTIRE suite of shows. I occasionally catch a few old reruns, and try to watch the latest "Enterprise" concoction. So I didn't criticize the game on 'trekkie accuracies'.
This game, Elite Force, is a pretty damn fun game. I have lost count of how many times I have replayed it over the past couple years since its release. It of course uses the Q3 engine, so it naturally runs decently on my aging machine and is thus one of the games I tend to replay because I can't really buy new graphic intensive games.
The game starts out with a short "spoof" of a mission, and then goes into a nifty show-like lead-in and credits. After a few cut scenes, you are into the game and into the fray. The story progressed quite well in this. You didn't feel left out, or wandering around aimlessly without anything interesting going on. Something would come up, and it lent to the overall story. Nothing mundane or useless (unless you consider the expansion pack to the game, but this review isn't about that).
Battles were fun, bad guys were good at hiding and ducking behind things. This made the battles more interesting instead of the old "everything runs straight at you shooting" tactics. A few monsters ran straight at you, but only because that's all they could do, due to their design. As well, the monsters were never endless. You could always clear an area and move on, which is another example of a well designed adventure game.
The level design and architecture was very well done. Levels had meaning, and direction. There wasn't some "ramp" thrown in a middle of a room just to get up to another level because the level designer didn't know what to do (*cough*Halo*cough*). Everything showed thought and planning. Of course, the levels inside the Voyager were done well, because they had the history of the show to work from.
Controls were fluid of course, due to the Q3 engine. I am pretty picky about this, because in an FPS, you don't need to be fighting poorly programmed controls. I've played some games were its pretty damn bad.
Overall, the game had all the elements I like in a FPS adventure game. It had a good story developing plot, some intrigue, great level construction, and fun game play. So why 9 out of 10? Net play blows. I don't usually consider net play in games like this, but since they put it in, I had to knock off a point out of spite for it being a pretty worthless addition.
Posted on June 22, 2004 at 9:58 am
They are back! Woo!
I've lived in Arizona too long, and when I moved out to the midwest a year ago, I didn't see them for the whole year and a half. But now, they appear to be making a comeback as I see them out now.
I was starting to be bummed, because I recall when I used to visit out this way I would see hundreds of them out in the yard alone, and when driving out at night, it was like sparklers in the bushes there were so many.
I blame the farmers and their "imported japanese beetles" that swarm near the end of the fall season in a massive battle with the swarms of lady bugs. See, lady bugs are nice sweet bugs that dont bite, and just fly about in a happy-go-lucky manner. The japanese beetles (which almost look exactly like a lady bug) are arny bastards that chew, bite, and attack everything that moves, even you! I bet they are out there just killing everything that they can get their hands on, including the lightning bugs.
But thats just speculation. Could be some new pesticide, or they are simply dying out to extinction. All I do know, is lightning bugs are harmless, and really fun to watch and play with.
Posted on June 14, 2004 at 7:05 pm
CD Copy Protection Rant|
I'll first state, I do not support piracy. I buy every game I play past a demo.
Copy protection is good and all, if done right, and done in a way that actually PREVENTS copy protection and doesn't risk damaging your original or media drive.
The main thing I am going to gripe about here, is the "Stick your CD in the drive in order to play even though its fully installed" bullshit. This sort of 'copy protection' stops nothing. I know you can download full CD images off the internet and burn them to CDR if you know where to look. Also, for those games that have special CD copy protection (which breaks some apple cd rom drives), you can also find "patches" that alter the game to not look for the CD at all.
The patches... those are nice. Even being a legit product buyer, I do look for those "No CD Cracks". Why? I'll tell you why... I seriously HATE having to dig out a CD for a game. It risks damage to various elements. The CD itself (which is nigh impossible to replace if you damage it due to the paranoia of publishers and piracy), or the CD drive itself. The more you put something in it, the more you wear it out.
I believe the only thing 'Stick your CD in copy protection' hurts, is actual legit paying customers. It annoys us out the wazoo because WE PAID FOR IT, why do WE have to suffer and deal with this crap?!
It's like the days of the ole "Look up this word in the manual"... that only hurt the owners, because those that pirated it, had cracks to bypass the stupid security checkpoints.
In my history of being a software developer, consumer, and trasher, I have come to the conclusion that there is no good copy protection that works. Even a Dongle doesn't work. People who pirate, find ways around everything that exists. Copy protection wastes money in development, wastes consumers money, and wastes everyone's time dealing with the aweful copy protection schemes.
So, end point for game developers: GIVE IT UP! YOU ONLY HURT YOURSELF!
Posted on June 8, 2004 at 9:24 am
Visiting the Motherland|
Last weekend, memorial day and the day after, I had flown out to Chicago for a hush-hush meeting with a hush-hush group I cannot go into now. During my short stay in chicago, I got to finally see the old stomping grounds of Bungie Studios. I didn't actually go into the building, but I did see it.
Back in the day, I used to be pretty excited about Bungie. I dedicated a lot of my free time enhancing their games, and eventually got to be a part of them at the root level. Of course that all changed when MS came into the picture and we got halo many years longer than we should have. However thats water under the bridge, I guess, maybe.
Seeing where they were while buiding Marathon, kind of brought back the memories of the whole Marathon world and fun I had with the game.
I sure wish a new game would come out that would have that sort of long lasting effect on people again. Considering, people even today, are still making new things for Marathon (and that's not even taking into account Aleph One or Marathon:Resurrection)!
We can only hope, that Wideload (being many old Bungie folk) will come up with some pretty amazing things. Who knows...
Posted on June 4, 2004 at 7:28 am
Age of Empires III
Age of Mythology
Black & White 1 & 2
Bladurs Gate 1 & 2
Blazing Angels WWII
Dark Messiah M&M
Diablo 1, 2 & LOD
Dungeon Siege II
Hitman 1, 2, 3, & 4 .. 5?
Homeworld 1 & 2
Icewind Dale 1 & 2
Jedi Knight Academy
Jedi Knight II
Knights of the Old Republic I & II
Lego Indiana Jones
Lego Star Wars I & II
Myst Series Entire
No One Lives Forever 1 & 2
Pirates of the Burning Sea
Pirates of the Caribbean
Prince of Persia: Sands
Quake 3 & 4
Return to Wolfenstein
Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
Splinter Cell: Pandora
Star Wars Galaxies
Stubbs the Zombie
Tomb Raider Angel
Tomb Raider Anniversary
Tomb Raider Legend
Warcraft III & Frozen Throne
X2 & X3
Splinter Cell (The First One)
Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
No One Lives Forever 2
| 1 2 3 |
This or That
CPU Speed: 2.0 - 2.9 GHz
Memory: 2 GB
Video: NVIDIA GeForce8 Series
Display: Apple Flat Panel
HD Space: 250 GB +
Details: Game Rig:
Creative Inspire 5700 Digital 5.1
DFI LP UT Ultra-D
Opty 165 OCd 2.8ghz
eVGA 8800GTS OCd
2gb G.Skill OCd
Antec TPT 650w
Dual SATA II Raid
Audigy 2 ZS
|User Reviews: 10|
|Polls Voted: 29|